Very long post : The story of doing the unthinkable by.. a madman :)
I applaud this experimental madness - even if the final sonic result (close but no cigar) and the reasons for it (not quite enough there) would seem reasonably predictable.
The experiment and its treatment here point up once again that, however articulate we may be, our ears and tonal vocabulary all differ. Thanks to the subjectivity of taste, one guy's tonewords, as definitive for him as they are evocative for the rest of us, don't necessarily describe the same phenomena as we would hear and describe them.
• Did the Tele bridge pup have a ballsifying brass plate under it? Might have made a difference, though based on your ultimate preference for the 2000, it would seem you're not looking for an overly punchy bridge pup.
• You know you can get custom-wind Dynas from Seymour Duncan. Somewhere between current Gretsch-standard (around 8k, which can sound spiky) and probably-too-hot (11k and up) there might be a sweet spot that suits your ears.
• But our ears-n-taste may differ sufficiently to make that consideration moot: you seem not to like ANY P90s, and I have a hard time finding any I DON'T like. (As much as various versions differ from each other, I find something to like in all of them.) Other than Dynas (which ARE the perfect pickup - if you happen to be smitten by their prominent character), P90s may be the answer to most pickup questions. They're so chameleonic, and so fluidly tweakable on any given platform (reacting beautifully with vol and tone controls). I can't help but think the right P90 might be your answer. But again, them's my earsentaste.
• Suggestion: as long as you're bravely (and expensively) experimenting, you might try to pair the right P90s with the wiring harness from a Reverend Club King, with the fabulous Bass Contour control. (Which guitar sounds like a fatted-up Tele on steroids to begin with.) That would let you dial in as much low end hollowbody resonance as you wanted at any particular time, or roll back to a less fat tone when that was required.
But the MAIN point of my post: do you still have the Magnatrons? Make me a deal? (I think my Annie Jr wants them.)
proteus - as i have never really studied this stuff in as much detail before now - the results were certainly not predictable to me. Given the number of variables, and how they figure into the equation (each of which is not totally 'common sense' to me), and the fact i'd not heard all possible permutations of 1) number of windings i.e. resistance/inductance 2)bobbin height/width 3) rod magnets vs. bar magnets 3) magnet material 5) wire gauge, 6) single vs dual coil 7) wire type 8)covered vs. not covered, 9)tone/vol pot value 10) saddle/bridge material 11) hollow vs. solid 12)neck and/or body wood 13) next item...14) next item ... N) nth item.. i could have made guesses, but i would not necessarily have guessed exactly right.
The tele bridge i used in fact had a brass plate (yet another variable). I actually loved that the low end 'punch' was there - but the frequencies just above the lows were missing. Good amount of 'bass', a good amount of treble, some good high mids, but not enough of the actual resonant frequency of the guitar. So it sounded almost like the pickup was 'empty'. That said, The tele neck pickup was very close to optimal - nice high, nice high-mid, good 'focused cut through' tone, but just a tiny bit over bright, and also slightly missing the more throaty strongest frequency of the guitar.
I have settled on the 2000 for now, but it is still not all the way there. On the bridge, it gets that 'resonant frequency' focused hollowbody midrange, and a relatively appropriate push in the p90/humbucker high mid freq, but not enough 'low punch' and not enough really nice high openness. On the neck pickup - it just sounds a little 'blah'. Somewhat muted and dark and just a tiny bit muddy, even though it DOES capture the basic and strongest resonant frequency of the guitar.
hmmm. p90s. i have heard a lot of them, but not all of them, so perhaps the negative things i've associated with them are not present in all of them. They are much more pleasing to me than humbuckers - but they almost always sound "magnet-y" to me - and all the ones i've heard have that midrange frequency (right around 2k to 4k) that literally repulses me. That frequency is awesome when you are driving your amp hard, but i really don't like it when playing clean and/or slightly dirty (which is most of the time for me). Dynas have a little of it too - but so far, it's just enough for me to tolerate. Also p90s in my experience lack a little of that super high end chime and detail that a tele pickup has. I don't want a thin, overly bright pickup, but i really want to hear the crunchy picking sound that you can hear in a tele and that 'sparkly' resonance when you're playing open strings - without losing the punch and body in the low, low mid and midrange. Perhaps my aversion to them has been entirely because i didn't sit with them and tweak as much as i should have. I will continue to keep an open mind about them.
Yeah - you can probably chalk it up to different taste - and also insanity. I have a lot of insanity. When i don't get the exact frequency balance that i want out of a guitar - it kills me.
I think the conclusion is - as i've stated before, i would probably love a custom wound seymour duncan dynasonic - slightly underwound for a little more brightness and openness. That would probably make me happy. It might totally be worth it, but i will need to take a second mortgage on my house to afford them!
i'll have to read up more on that club king wiring harness. sounds interesting. i'm not sure it's bass im targeting so much as having bass, but ALSO having detail/chime... but it's worth a look-see.
and sorry to say - the magnatrons have already been sold. All this experimentation ends up not being terribly expensive, because when i decide what i like, i sell all the stuff i dont like, so long as i don't see a possible future application for it.
thanks for the input proteus - cool to exchange posts with someone as knowledgeable as you. I will definitely open my mind on the p90 front a little wider. thanks again
What about a P90 designed to fit a Telecaster bridge plate?
dave - i actually have a fralin version of that. Because of the magnet(s) on the bottom of the pickup, it becomes too tall to fit on the 6118, without routing. Amazingly enough - i've accomplished all the experimentation without having to mod the guitar in any way (except a few screw holes) and for the time being, i wanna keep it that way.
but thanks for keeping the 'thinking' going on !!!